Domestic airlines lose N360bn to flight suspension


Domestic airlines in Nigeria have lost over N360bn since the suspension of flight operations over COVID-19 outbreak in the country, the Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON), has disclosed. The group which represents indigenous airline operators said over 120 aircraft were currently parked at various airports in the country, with airlines required to pay accumulated costs on leased aircraft, staff salaries, allowances for crew, parking and maintenance fees and recurrent training.

The AON in a statement yesterday however urged the federal government to consider an urgent stimulus grant or palliatives for domestic airlines to cushion the effects and keep them afloat. The palliatives, the AON said, should include deliberate sourcing, loans, grants, tax waivers, special forex windows and rates, reduction of airport taxes or surcharges and waivers.

It noted that about four weeks before domestic airlines suspended both local and international flights to support the government’s effort to curtail the virus, passenger traffic had declined drastically to about 9 percent.

“Aviation service providers including airports, fueling services providers, ground handling service providers, security services providers, catering services providers and many more would be badly hit this year 2020, according to IATA,” it said.

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